As I mentioned yesterday, I wanted to share a few photos of Mary Cooper's current home with you, a two-story 1830's Creole townhouse that she and her partner, Tomio, have lovingly restored. The house is in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans, minutes outside of the French Quarter but seemingly many miles away.
For when you ring the bell on the garden gate and step off the sidewalk of the city, you are immediately transported to what feels like a remote corner of a country setting. The garden is lush and overgrown, the house primitive, rustic, almost austere in its simplicity, the modern amenities of life nowhere to be found, making way instead for the chirping of birds, the breezes that pass through open doors and windows, the sound of rain on a tin roof, the laughter that comes from the open back porch, an inevitable gathering spot.
I think it takes courage to live such a pared down existence. It's a lifestyle I am sure I could never willingly achieve. I love my central air and heat, the Internet, my smart phone, cable, Netflix, my Kitchen Aid...but I have a deep admiration and respect for what Mary and Tomio have been able to both create and maintain. It gives me pause. When I am there, outside influences ebb. I can focus on exactly what's in front of me. Honestly, it's a relief, an interlude in a busy day.
Mary and Tomio are moving on soon, ready to take on a new house, a new adventure. When they first put the home on the market, the realtor suggested they take out the good furniture, so that prospective buyers could focus on the house itself, not the magic they'd created. They didn't just move the furniture, they sold it, replacing it with the sparest of creations made by hand. And still, the magic lingers. It's intangible, not for everyone, but I hope a special person, someone with vision, steps through that garden gate and finds a place to call home.